Design, Marketing, Page Layout, Self Publishing

How to Design Your Book Cover Like a Professional

How is a great book cover made? Many people like to think that a great cover just materializes, fully formed, in the mind of the designer. The reality is that many factors, such as visual appeal, color, fonts, and audience, all have to be considered before starting. Additionally, a book designer must have the technical skills to put those ideas into print.

Here are four tips on designing your cover from a professional book designer.

1. Think About Your Audience

When creating your book cover, it is critical to consider where your reader will be seeing your book, what they will be looking for, and the feeling or tone of covers in that genre. Before starting your design, I recommend looking online and at local bookstores for books in the same genre as your book.

A fiction cover should appeal to the heart. What is the mood or feeling of your book? If you can pinpoint this, with a little searching, you will certainly be able to find an image that conveys that feeling. You may have better luck searching for concepts rather than things. So searching for “alone” or “lonely house” may provide you a better image than “lost cabin in the woods.”

Common photographic themes that can provide mood:

  • Dark Clouds
  • Shadows
  • Light Rays
  • Facial Expressions

A nonfiction cover should appeal to the mind. A metaphor will get the buyer thinking about what the book may be about. When choosing images, download a copy or sample of any image that you are considering. Try each of your ideas on the cover design with the cover type to see which one is the best before you pay.

2. Keep It Simple

One of the most common mistakes made in book cover design is overcomplicating the cover imagery or being too literal with it. Choosing one image or a direct focal point in the cover image will help your cover be more understandable and more enticing to potential readers. Ask yourself: if you were to drive down the highway and see a billboard of your book’s cover, would you be able to understand and determine what it is at a glance?

3. Focus On Your Title

Your readers need to know what your book called, which means they need to see your title as soon as they see the cover. Making the title your focal point will help direct your readers’ eye and entice them. Part of making your title the focal point is choosing the right font and size.

Choosing a serif vs. sans serif type face: Serifs are generally used more on literary or historical book covers. Sans serifs are used often on thrillers or on non-fiction. Here is comparison of the two types:

Choosing the right font: While it is tempting to choose a “fancy” face, resist this temptation. Many of these treatments absolutely guarantee an unprofessional cover design. Here are a few recommended typefaces:

Placing the type on your cover. It may seem a bit traditional, but you can’t go wrong with centered type! Keep your contrast as high as possible by using pure white type over a dark image, and pure black over a light image. When formatting your title, you may want to use wide letter spacing if your type is going over an image. If your background image is simple, you can choose a type with thinner letters. If the background image is busy, choose a heavier typeface.

4. Rule of Thirds

This is a common guideline or best practice for photography but also relates to book covers. The rule of thirds is a composition style that recommends that you divide your artwork into three main sections, each taking up one-third of the cover. For example, your focal point (usually your title or center element) will take up one third of your cover, while the remaining two thirds would be left open for background elements. Your sections can be divided, vertically, or diagonally. Below is an example cover that utilizes the rule of thirds:

Following these four tips will help give your book a professional look and make it standout among the crowd. Designing a cover should be fun and most importantly it should be something you love.

Check our our cover design portfolio and text design portfolio for a little inspiration.

Book production, Marketing, Self Publishing

The Anatomy of a Barcode

If you’ve ever attempted to publish your own book, you’ve likely had to deal with barcodes at some point. A barcode is a graphic of vertical lines that can be scanned for sales or inventory. The ISBN number is used to create the barcode, but the number and the barcode are two separate things.

Why do you need an ISBN?

If you put your book out there for sale it is important to identify it uniquely. An ISBN acts like a social security number for your book.

International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies your book. If you plan to sell your printed books or ebooks through booksellers, it is recommended to purchase an ISBN for each edition, for example, one each for hardcover, softcover, and ebooks.

If your book will be sold primarily to family and friends, through your website or by back-of-the-room sales, an ISBN is not necessary. Visit www.myidentifiers.com to purchase your ISBNs.

The Anatomy of a Barcode

The Anatomy of a Barcode

To learn more about ISBNs and barcodes and how they relate to book publishing, check out our article on the subject.

Additional Services, Marketing, Self Publishing, Social Media

How to Sell Your Self-Published Book Online in 6 Steps

In 2018, the debate is pretty much over; online sales are a key component of any self-published author’s book marketing campaign.

But for authors, who often prefer to be between the pages of a book than on the internet, it can be daunting for someone with little technical experience to break into the sphere of digital marketing. Fortunately, the internet’s ongoing shift towards user-friendliness has given authors more tools than ever to market and sell their book online.

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Even if you have little to no technical experience, these six steps can go a long way to increasing your online book sales.

1. Have a website

Convenience is king. In the increasingly saturated online marketplace, customers need a quick way to browse and purchase your book.

A website acts as a “home” for your book. It’s the place where all of your marketing efforts eventually lead back to. Ideally you’ll want a website with a checkout cart that will allow customers to order your books online. By reducing that number of steps needed to buy your book, you significantly reduce the chance that a customer might distract him/herself from making a purchase.

sales tools sell your book online

Creating, hosting and maintaining a website can often be an expensive endeavor. However, a growing trend in online marketing is to utilize a template website service, which will create and host your website for you.

Looking to service independent authors, we at Gorham Printing recently relaunched our Sales Tools service. Sales Tools supplies authors with a one-page, customizable web store where customers can browse, share and buy their books.

2. Write some blog articles

Imagine this: your book is finally finished. You’ve spent months, maybe years, writing, editing and perfecting it. Then someone comes in and tells you that you have more writing to do.

Blogs keep the conversation about your book going long after its publication. They are a great way to promote upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking events.

Write blogs to inspire discussion among your readers. Write an article about your writing process or a character’s intentions, and let your followers carry the discussion from there.

3. Host an online launch party

Launch parties are a great way to kick off your book release with some momentum. But what if I told you that you could have hundreds of attendees without any of them having to leave their houses?

Online launch parties make it convenient for readers to participate in your release. Often times these launches are paired with giveaways that incentive users to like, comment and share your content. Many authors choose to give away signed copies of their book.

how to sell your self-published book online in 2018

4. Start a newsletter

The quickest way to a customer’s heart is email. A newsletter starts by asking your readers for their email in exchange for relevant and interesting content. Prepare a content calendar following the release of your book with interesting blog articles, event invitations and anything else your readers might find interesting.

5. Create a social media business page for your book

Social media is no place to be shy. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are finely tuned to make sharing content quick and easy.

Beyond just sharing content on your personal profiles, consider creating a business account page for your book or publishing group. This will allow you to gain followers specific to your book without diluting its content with your personal information.

6. Contact popular bloggers for reviews

You don’t have to do all that sharing on your own. There are scores of book review bloggers and websites that are hungry for new content.

Start by looking for local reviewers, who would jump at the chance to feature an up-and-coming local author. From there, expand your search to include bigger bloggers. Even a 140-character mention from a popular reviewer can skyrocket your popularity.

While these online marketing strategies can’t guarantee a successful release, by increasing your online presence you can continue to stay relevant on the minds of your readers long after your books’ release.

About Us, Additional Services, Community, Marketing, Self Publishing

Store, Sell and Ship Your Books with Gorham Printing’s New Sales Tools

We are thrilled to announce our brand-new Sales Tools program!

It is not uncommon for our customers to ask, “How can I sell my books online?” We now have an answer that doesn’t involve major online book retailers.

Booksite with Buy Button

Sales Tools connects you directly to online shoppers with your very own Booksite. Your Booksite is a web page hosted on gorhamprinting.com that includes an image of your book cover, a book summary, reader reviews, your author photo and bio, social media links, and the all-powerful Buy Button. All you need to do is supply those pieces and we take care of the technical work.

Quality Book Printing + Safe Storage

When you enroll in Sales Tools Booksite + Store & Ship, you tell us the number of books from your print order you’d like sent to the fulfilment warehouse owned and operated by Major Goods, right here in Centralia. Major Goods stores your books in their climate-controlled facility, waiting for orders to be placed on your Booksite by your future readers.

Order Fulfillment

When your customer clicks the Buy Button and enters credit card information, Major Goods receives a notification. They pick, pack and ship your book to the address entered. Your customer pays the shipping & handling with their order, and the rest of their payment goes directly to you via PayPal.

Sales Tools

Really?!

Really! You paid us when we printed your books, so we’re not going to charge you every time a customer wants to order your book, too. We charge you once to enroll in the program and set up your web page ($170) and again every year if you’d like to continue ($60). PayPal does have a small service fee for each purchase, but the rest of the funds go right to you. It really is that simple.

You’ve Got Options

Like so many other facets of our approach to book design and printing, we can tailor our program to meet your needs. Prefer to store your books and fill your orders from home or your local post office? For $120 we’ll set up your Booksite and you receive the notification when your customer places an order.

Already have a website? You can work directly with Major Goods to integrate their sales platform (that magical Buy Button!) into your web content, then tell us how many of the books we print you’d like to store in their warehouse.

Special Offer!

Enroll in our Sales Tools program before September 30, 2017, and receive fifteen months of service instead of just twelve with your first payment. Learn more today!